Analog TV Switch-Off Completed in South Africa First Province

Khumbudzo Ntshaveni, Communications minister has said the Free State has become the first South African province to completely switch off its analog television transmitters. The residents of the province now require a digital set-top box (digital decoder) or a TV with a Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) tuner before getting free-to-air broadcasting.

“We have managed to conclude analog switch-off in the Free State province at the end of October, following the plan.”, the Communication minister said. Ntshaveni added that no viewer has complained that they do not have access to TV broadcasts after the analog TV switch-off, meaning that everybody in that province could access digital broadcasts.

“I am very happy there are no blackouts of any household”, Khumbudzo stated. “We are also on track to conclude the North West switch-off in line with the program that we shared with you”. Ntshaveni said the present plan was to switch off all SABC transmitter sites by the 31st of January, 2022.

Minister of Communications, Khumbudzo Ntshaveni said a total analog switch-off dates would be given at a later stage, but the department still targets 31st March 2022 as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa at his SONA speech in February 2021. Khumbudzo also added that the government has ramped up DTT installer capacity in the past months.

“Sentech’s installer capacity for the remaining provinces has been created, and this will intensify installations in the coming months”, she said. “In Limpopo and Mpumalanga, we are fully ramped up, and we are on track with the plan as well”.

“We are commencing with Gauteng, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape in terms of the installations”, the Communications minister added.

Khumbudzo has also addressed concerns that some viewers without digital decoders of televisions without digital tuners would be left without access to free-to-air broadcasts, due to the slow uptake in sign-ups for minimized set-top boxes (STB). By the end of October, the government has registered 1,228,879 indigent households qualified for the set-top boxes. Of over one million households that had registered, 572,255 of them have been migrated.

Ntshaveni said the reason the numbers were not going up as expected is that 11 million South Africans are already watching TV through satellite while others watch through DTT-compliant TV sets. The minister also said the department found out that most indigent households who qualified for STBs already have DTT-compliant TVs, this would only require an aerial to access digital television.

Khumbudzo further emphasized that the government has received assurances from set-top boxes manufacturers that they have sufficient capacity to satisfy the digital decoder in South Africa.

The minister emphasized the call to non-indigent households that do not qualify for a free STB to buy a television with a digital tuner or an STB that can receive digital or satellite signals. An Openview or DStv decoder is another alternative.


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Boluwatife Aponmade
Boluwatife Aponmade
Boluwatife Aponmade is a Writer, Content Creator, Social Volunteer, Sickle cell Advocate and a lover of arts. She does creative writing, copywriting, storytelling and poetry. She has interest in Mass communication, Law and Journalism. She's a Biochemistry Student.

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